Police detain man suspected of bombing Dresden mosque

German police said Friday they have detained a 30-year-old man suspected of having carried out bomb attacks that struck a mosque and an international convention centre in the eastern city of Dresden.

Police detain man suspected of bombing Dresden mosque
The damage caused by the attack on the Dresden mosque. Photo: DPA

No one was injured in the September attacks that hit the city, which is the birthplace of the anti-immigration and Islamophobic PEGIDA movement.

Investigators raiding two sites secured items that could be used to build explosives, police said, adding that forensic tests show that “the DNA traces secured are consistent with the DNA of the suspect”.

Bild daily identified the suspect as Nino K. and said he had spoken at a PEGIDA rally in the summer of 2015, railing against “criminal foreigners” and “lazy Africans”.

The attacks occurred just days before Dresden was due to host national celebrations to mark 26 years since the reunification of East and West Germany.

The first homemade bomb damaged the door of the mosque while the imam and his family were inside. The second blast struck at the main venue for the German reunification anniversary festivities.

Dresden, a Baroque city in Germany's ex-communist east, has become a hotspot for far-right protests and hate crimes after more than a million asylum seekers arrived in Europe's biggest economy since 2015.

In an annual report outlining progress since reunification, the government warned in September that growing xenophobia and right-wing extremism could threaten peace in eastern Germany.

Correction: This article originally stated that the suspect was 29. New information from prosecutors has changed this to 30.


WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation

A massive World War II bomb found in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt was safely detonated in the early hours of Thursday, the city's fire service said, allowing tens of thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation
Experts stand on mountains of sand, which were put in place to soften the force of the explosion of the WWII bomb in Frankfurt's Nordend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The 500-kilogram unexploded bomb was unearthed during construction work on Wednesday in the densely populated Nordend area of the city, a location firefighters said made it a “particular challenge” to remove.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the ordnance had been discovered right next to a children’s playground at a depth of about two metres (6.5 feet).

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

Its report said the controlled blast, which happened just after midnight, “sounded like thunder rumbling” and left a hole three metres deep and ten metres wide.

Firefighters said that they had covered the bomb with 40 truckloads of sand before detonating it, in order to minimise damage to the surrounding buildings.

Around 25,000 people had been asked to evacuate the area, including the occupants of a nearby community hospital’s neonatal ward.

Among residents who took shelter at a skating rink was 29-year-old Tobias, carrying his pet cat in a cage.

He said he had heard the news over a police loudspeaker and been ordered to leave his home immediately, causing a “bit of stress”.

Barbara, 77, told AFP the news was “a bit of a shock, we don’t expect that”.

However, building works in Germany regularly unearth unexploded World War II ordnance, 76 years after the conflict’s end.

Seven bombs were defused in 2020 on land near Berlin where Tesla plans to build its first factory in Europe for electric cars.  

READ ALSO: WWII bomb in Frankfurt triggers 30m high water fountain

Other bombs were also discovered last year in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Dortmund.

In Frankfurt, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 led to the removal of 65,000 people, the biggest such evacuation in Europe since 1945.